Ideas & Inspiration
Regrow Vegetables from Scraps
Get more life out of the kitchen scraps you routinely throw away, like carrot and onion tops and sprouted garlic. Not only will this practice reduce your food waste, you’ll also benefit by getting the most out of your vegetable garden.
You can try regrowing everything from ginger to carrots, from pineapples to pumpkins. Sometimes, you may not get the edible root, as with a carrot, but you will get delicious, edible greens as you do when you regrow beets and turnips.
No-waste kitchen projects are easy because plants are programmed to produce more. Of course, it all depends on the vegetable or fruit, but whenever you plant seeds, stems, roots or leaves, you can grow something edible.
The next time you chop vegetables for soup or salad, save the tops and root tips and try one of these projects. Simply start with good-quality organic produce, add water, sun and sometimes soil, and you’re done.
Most varieties of lettuce, bok choy and cabbage can be regrown this way. Cut off the bottom section of the lettuce and place the flat end in one-half inch of water and set in a sunny window. Top off with water as needed. After three to four days, roots and new shoots should emerge. Once this happens, transfer and plant in soil.
- Cut a raw white or sweet potato with visible sprouts or eyes in half.
- Insert toothpicks between the cut edge and top of the potato and suspend it in a container of water, cut-side down.
- Place in direct sunlight.
- Sprouts should emerge from the top of the potato in about four days.
- Once the sprouts reach 4 inches, twist them off and set in a dish of shallow water. Change the water every few days.
- Plant them in organic soil when the sprouts have 1-inch roots.
Perhaps the easiest vegetable to regrow is green onions. About 1 inch from the roots, cut the green section off, leaving the white base. Place the base in a glass container and add water, but don’t fully submerse the base. Place in a sunny window. Change water every few days and trim green onions as needed.
All you need is a single clove to regrow garlic. Begin with organic, untreated garlic.
- Place a clove, flat side down, in shallow water or directly into soil, and wait for shoots to emerge from the top.
- Place in full sun.
- Once new shoots have established, cut them back so your plant produces a bulb.
- Plant bulbs in the fall for bigger and more flavorful results. In areas that get a hard frost, plant six to eight weeks before first frost. In southern areas, February or March is a better time to plant.
Culinary ginger is the rhizome of a tropical plant and it adds zip to baked goods, curries, marinades and dressings. Growing more ginger is simple, just look for untreated, organic ginger with plenty of eyes, just like potatoes.
Here's how to regrow ginger:
- With a knife, cut the ginger into 1-inch pieces, making sure that each piece has eyes.
- Fill a container with organic soilless potting mix and pour water over it until it's just damp. Let any extra water drain into the plant saucer.
- Plant the ginger pieces in the soil and cover with a couple more inches of soil.
- Set the pot in bright light and water when the soil is dry.
- After a few months, when you see shoots, pull back the soil and snap off the new ginger root growth.
Whether you need the right planters, seeds or potting soil, The Home Depot delivers online orders when and where you need them.